'He did a pretty good job': Leeds Rhinos chief pays tribute to former coach Richard Agar

Chief executive Gary Hetherington has paid tribute to Leeds Rhinos’ former coach Richard Agar after it was confirmed he will not be returning to the club.

The 50-year-old took over as Rhinos boss in May, 2019, after Dave Furner was sacked, but resigned in March following a run of five defeats in Leeds’ opening six games this season.

At the time, Rhinos said Agar would remain at the club in an unspecified capacity, but NRL club New Zealand Warriors have confirmed he will join them next season as an assistant-coach, on a two-year contract.

Hetherington said: “Richard should be remembered for his contribution.

Richard Agar with the Challenge Cup at Wembley in 2020. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.

“We recruited him at the end of 2018 from St George’s youth operation to do something similar for us.

“When David Furner was struggling somewhat he assisted him for a short time and then took over the coaching role when David left.

“It’s fair to say we were at our lowest ebb at that point in time, but he did a really good job, along with [director of rugby] Kevin Sinfield to rebuild the team.”

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Richard Agar talks to the media after Rhinos' win at Wakefield this season. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Rhinos avoided relegation in Agar’s first season, went on to win the Challenge Cup and qualify for the play-offs the following year and fell one game short of the Grand Final last term.

“I think it’s fair to say he did a pretty good job during his time with us,” Hetherington stated.

“We made a pretty poor start to this season, which did affect him quite badly.

“The main reason for that poor start was the team was decimated by injuries and suspensions.

Richard Agar takes Rhinos' first pre-season training session, last November. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

“He stood down and I am pleased to say he is now fully recovered and looking at the next chapter and challenge with New Zealand Warriors, something very different.”